Make the ultimate comfort food for your family: Homemade Shepherd’s Pie (or Cottage Pie) with ground beef – simple, yummy and easy to make.
A homemade Shepherd’s Pie is the ultimate comfort food dinner. You can even make a double batch and freeze one for later – it will hardly be any effort!
Is there anything better than comfort food? Maybe the kind of comfort food like those perfect mashed potatoes I shared last week?
Not much better than that if you ask me. Only if you put said mashed potatoes on top of a shepherd’s pie, maybe. And that’s exactly what we’re doing here!
We’re all about the cozy casseroles during winter around here. My kids especially are huge fans of this simple shepherd’s pie – and I usually make two while I’m at it, so I can freeze one for later!
We love this casserole with a side of sautéed green beans or a green salad. It’s already hearty and has all the things you need in a dinner, so it really doesn’t need much more!
This Easy Shepherd’s Pie Recipe
- is pure cozy comfort food
- can be frozen for easy dinner prep on those super busy days
- truly is the best ever shepherd’s pie you’ll ever make!
It might we worth telling you right now that the technical term for this recipe is actually cottage pie (made with ground beef) and not authentic shepherd’s pie (made with ground lamb).
But my mission here on Savory Nothings is always to share recipes real people with a real grocery budget and a regular grocery store and an everyday exhausting kids/work/life situation can make.
So, here it is. Fake Shepherd’s Pie. Aka Homemade Shepherd’s Pie with ground beef.
One that’s simple and affordable and delicious. It is the best ❤️
How To Make Shepherd’s Pie
Scroll down below the step instructions for tips on how to freeze this shepherd’s pie, more tips and tricks to make it foolproof, and for the printable recipe card!
Making a shepherd’s pie is very easy, once you know what you have to pay attention to.
What do you put in shepherd’s pie?
Shepherd’s Pie has a delicious, gravy-laden filling and a creamy mashed potato topping.
The filling is made with ground beef, onions, carrots, celery and peas – all wrapped in a rich gravy.
The topping is simply mashed potatoes sprinkled with some cheese. Simple, but so comforting.
1 – Prepare the vegetables and aromatics: Chopping the veggies and herbs before you start cooking makes for easier preparation! And a good knife makes chopping even faster.
This is one of the chef’s knives I have! (This is an affiliate link and I earn a commission for purchases made after clicking through.)
Peel and mince the garlic, peel and dice the onions and carrots and dice the celery. Make sure you dice the vegetables quite finely, or you’ll end up with huge chunks in your filling.
Also chop the fresh rosemary, thyme and parsley. Or use dried if you don’t have any fresh on hand!
2 – Brown the meat and vegetables by heating the oil in a large frying pan. Add the beef and cook until browned and all the meat juices have evaporated.
Alternatively, drain the beef to remove some of the fat. Add the garlic, onions, carrots and celery and continue cooking until the veggies are starting to soften.
3 – Season: Sprinkle the salt, paprika, pepper and flour over the pan. The flour is there to thicken the sauce later, so don’t skip it.
Cook for 2 minutes, stirring often. Stir in the tomato paste and cook, stirring all the time, until it smells roasted (about 1 minute) – but make sure it doesn’t burn!
4 – Deglaze the pan: Deglazing means adding liquid to a hot pan to dissolve the roasting flavors into a sauce, so pour the red wine over the meat and veggies, scratching the browned bits off the bottom.
If you don’t cook with wine, you can use extra broth. Bring to a boil and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated. Add the broth and simmer for 4-5 minutes, or until a thick gravy has formed.
5 – Finish the filling: Stir in the peas and herbs. Check for seasoning, then spread in a 7×11 baking dish and set aside until completely cold.
Pro tip: How do you keep the layers in shepherd’s pie from mixing?
The trick here is the most important part to any homemade shepherd’s pie recipe:
For optimal layered presentation, you have to let the filling get stone cold before adding the topping.
I know. This requires you to do some very adult planning. As in, you need to know you’ll want shepherd’s pie for dinner round about 2.30pm in the afternoon.
But? It is very much worth this extra step of planning and thinking ahead. Make it and you’ll see.
6 – Make the mashed potatoes: While the filling is cooling, you have some time to make your favorite mashed potatoes. This is how I make mine!
7 – Layer and bake: Preheat the oven to 400°F. Carefully spread the mashed potatoes over the cold filling – don’t mix them up! Then sprinkle with cheese and bake until golden and bubbly!
Tips for the Best Shepherd’s Pie:
- Make sure to brown the meat and vegetables well for the most intense flavors
- Do not skip chilling the filling – if you do, the potato and beef layers will mix and you could end up with a dish of beefy potato soup
- if you don’t like peas, it’s also delicious with chopped green beans
Can I prepare shepherd’s pie in advance?
Yes, you can.
Assemble the entire pie as directed in the recipe, right up to the finally baking step.
Cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days, then bake at 400°F for 30-40 minutes, or until the filling is bubbly and the top is golden.
Can you freeze homemade shepherd’s pie?
Shepherd’s Pie is a great meal to make ahead and freeze!
Prepare it as directed in the recipe, right up to the final baking step.
Wrap well with foil and then aluminum foil. Label and freeze for up to 2 months.
How do you reheat frozen shepherd’s pie?
To reheat, no need to defrost! Remove both foils, then replace the aluminum foil.
Bake at 400°F with the foil on for 1 hour. Remove the foil and bake for another 10 minutes, until browned.
P.S: If you tried this recipe, why not leave me a comment below to let me know how you liked it?
I LOVE interacting with you and hearing about your experience with my recipe. Also, by adding a comment and star rating you’re helping Savory Nothings grow and get even better for you!
Homemade Shepherd’s Pie
* These are affiliate links and I make a commission for purchases made after clicking through.
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 clove garlic chopped
- 2 onions finely chopped
- 2 medium carrots finely diced
- 2 stalks celery finely diced
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground paprika
- ground black pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons white flour
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1/3 cup red wine
- 1 cup beef broth
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
- 1/2 teaspoon finely chopped thyme
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped rosemary
- 4 cups mashed potatoes (click for my recipe and you’ll have some leftovers to sneak during cooking)
- 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- Brown meat and vegetables: Heat the oil over medium high heat in a large, deep skillet. Add the beef and cook until browned and all the meat juices have evaporated. Add the garlic, onions, carrots and celery and continue cooking until the veggies are starting to soften.
- Season: Sprinkle the salt, paprika, pepper and flour over the pan. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring often. Stir in the tomato paste and cook, stirring all the time, until it smells roasted (about 1 minute).
- Deglaze the pan: Pour the red wine over the meat and veggies, scratching the browned bits off the bottom. Bring to a boil and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated. Add the broth and simmer for 4-5 minutes, or until a thick gravy has formed.
- Finish the filling: Stir in the peas and herbs. Check for seasoning, then spread in a 7×11 baking dish and set aside until completely cold.
- Prep mash: In the meantime, make your favorite mashed potatoes. You need about 4 cups of mash to top off the casserole. About 1.5 pounds of peeled potatoes should yield enough.
- Bake pie: Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Spread the mashed potatoes over the cold filling. (Be careful not to mix up the two.) Sprinkle with the cheese. Bake at 400°F for 20 minutes or until golden.
Nutrition (this is an estimate)
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